Building Lego at Curve: Inside the hiring process
Finding and hiring excellent talent is like playing with Lego; you start from nothing, and work to build something great. This is how Jonny Thoroughgood, a Talent Partner at Curve, describes the hiring process. Through his communication skills and dream-big Lego skills, Jonny has hired over 50 people virtually since he started in January. He works tirelessly to ensure Curve’s rocket ship has the best possible team on board, ready for take off. We sat down with him to learn more about Curve’s recruitment process and its role as a bedrock of what we do.
What has been your own experience of working during the pandemic?
The pandemic ignited a lot of change and uncertainty for me. I left my old job at the height of Covid, applied to Curve and just 10 days later I joined a team of five people. We’re now a team of 10 having experienced a period of growth! The pandemic taught me that taking risks can pay off and it has helped shape the way I look for candidates. I am most interested in the people who are willing to challenge themselves and step out of their comfort zone.
How have you found joining Curve remotely?
As a Talent Partner you would expect me to have physically met everyone in the business; this couldn’t be further from the truth. I started during the height of the second wave, in January 2021, so obviously the company was already fully virtual at that time. I had not met a lot of people I work directly with for the first six months, let alone my new hires. However, it has meant I am able to relate and offer advice to candidates as I know exactly the situation they are in. It has made the hiring process more personal and I have really got to know each candidate much better than I would have pre-Covid. Curve Camp, in which all new joiners participate, was key to me understanding the business so quickly and the process allowed me to hit the ground running.
What have been the challenges of your job during this pandemic?
For me, the hardest part of my job has to be informing candidates that they are not the right fit for the role. Obviously this is not something I have ever enjoyed, but since Covid, many applicants have been made redundant. The job market is oversaturated with talent, fuelling oversubscription of applicants to each role.
I decided to give myself the challenge of turning this aspect of the job into a positive experience for myself and the candidate. As a team, we make a concerted effort to provide valuable and insightful feedback to candidates who go through our process.
A purely practical challenge has been trying to make sure new hires receive their laptops and other technical devices in time for their first day. Rob Barrett, Curve’s IT genius, is responsible for setting up and distributing laptops all over the world. We even had one incident where a laptop got stuck at Mexican customs, where they wanted a large fee to get it released. Just one example of a post-pandemic challenge.
How do you ensure that Curve is hiring efficiently, even when you’re working remotely?
It’s all about putting in the effort to build those relationships and supporting the candidates. This is more challenging when you’re operating digitally. We need to strike a balance between being understanding and empathetic to the internal stakeholder and also to ensuring you’re hiring the best candidates. You end up spinning a lot of plates. The best way to deal with this pressure is communication. Clear communication goes a long way, so I always work to make sure I’m keeping my hiring managers informed. I let my hiring managers know the good, the bad and the ugly.
We’ve also created a really high barrier to entry (this means we set a high standard when qualifying candidates at the start of the process). This means we are in a position to provide real and honest feedback, regularly, as opposed to just sending out a rejection email. Our pre-recruitment process is comprehensive and efficient. We break down the soft and hard skills that a candidate needs to succeed in the role. We then outline six of the eleven leadership principles for the process. The role is then passed on to our Head of Learning and Development, David Frost who creates a Career Growth Framework for the role, so we build a roadmap for what the role could look like in the future, and how the candidate can develop and grow at Curve. In this way, our candidates' needs are being met and I’m doing my job better as a stakeholder, and everyone’s time is respected and manageable.
How has the past year made you feel about your job specifically?
I am very proud and passionate about what I do. As a child, I used to love building Lego and building something from scratch. I feel like my job at Curve emulates this love of constructing a vision.
My job isn’t just handing over a contract, but also ensuring that new hires are set to make the best of their role. I’ve had to become a representative of Curve and communicate the Curve Leadership Principles to our candidates and that is something I am incredibly proud of.
Why are you specifically passionate about your role at Curve?
Curve really invests in their employees. We are invested in the success of all of our candidates and believe that working at Curve is an opportunity for you to strengthen both your professional and personal brand. Within my first six months I’ve been placed onto Curve’s Future Leader programme, progressed to leading the Commercial and Operations Team and gained exposure to senior leadership. I’ve been encouraged to challenge my colleagues and myself to settle for example. Curve takes real ownership for each individual in their growth journey.
There’s something so unique to Curve in terms of the emphasis on each individual person, and our Career Growth Framework is evidence of this. Knowledge is power here. There’s room for growth and that extends to the talent team itself. I have an ambition of where I want to be and Curve is helping me to achieve that.